Who Is Responsible for Industrial Parks In Sudbury? – by Dick DeStefano

Dick DeStefano is the Executive Director of Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA). destefan@isys.ca 

Municipal elections are forthcoming and we need to hear the Mayoral candidates tell us what their plan is to attract new business enterprises to Greater Sudbury. I have heard the expression continually that “Sudbury is open for business” over the past years but I fail to see any clear public strategies that will increase the capacity for industrial space for new mining supply and service enterprises.

North Bay is very aggressive and our community may never catch up. Timmins has also grown its inventory of land and industrial space in the past few years.

I have been told that a number of private tracts are available on the Kingsway and Walden. A new 33 acre park called Silver Industrial Park recently announced its opening in Walden and said it will be serviced by 2014, but we as a community need to search for new clients. A concerted effort should be made in cooperation with the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation (GSDC). A task force of qualified individuals to spearhead the push to bring more sophisticated industries to Sudbury should be formed.

Sudbury is facing a number of challenges with a number of mergers and closures that are impacting the mining supply and service sector and this activity is slowing Sudbury’s ability to create new jobs and to replace displaced technical and professional experts needed in our community.

Greater Sudbury has a responsibility to carry an inventory of public lands that should be marketed to new business opportunities enabling them to join our industrial mining cluster. Governments at all levels are responsible for building infrastructure; not only fixing potholes but also putting assets in the ground in the community that bring business expansion and new opportunities.

GSDC made an effort to study the Fielding Road service issue a few years ago by commissioning an environmental study by R.V. Anderson Associates. The results outlining the solutions are expected by mid-summer 2014. At that point, GSDC will hold a public meeting on the Fielding Road issue before any recommendations are finalized. This could stretch into the late fall of 2014.

Greater Sudbury Development Corporation also made an offer for an expansion on Elisabella Street in New Sudbury that was rejected by the landowners who claim that they have paid enough commercial taxes over the years and should not have to pay extra for water and sewer connections that will expand the existing tax base.

GSDC must get back to the table with the landowners who want to expand and find a solution which is fair to both parties. The City of Greater Sudbury proposal required acceptance by more than two-thirds of benefiting property owners in the industrial area, representing at least 50 per cent of the total project land area. From 58 properties eligible for the cost sharing agreement, owners representing 32 properties did not support the proposal, owners representing 20 properties did not respond and owners representing six properties responded in favour in the first round.

There are also a number of other related infrastructure projects in Sudbury being initiated that will have an eventual impact and assist in opening new space on land. This will take time.

North Bay has developed a comprehensive strategy that should be applauded for its design and incentives. North Bay City Council has reduced Industrial taxes by 66% to one of the lowest levels in Ontario and eliminated Industrial Development charges. This supports their strategy of providing a very competitive operating cost environment. Financial Incentive programs also help offset both operating and capital project costs.

Through the Development Application Review Team (DART) all the staff members that are needed for projects are available at once to review a proposal and give comments upon request! The DART reviews all development applications and Site Plan Control Agreements to ensure that staffs are doing everything they can to move the project forward quickly and to meet project deadlines.

North Bay’s pro-active business City Council has eliminated industrial development charges and implemented a 20 year commercial tax reduction strategy.

The City of North Bay offers a variety of municipally owned site options for development in their Gateway Industrial Park, and both ground and airside options in their Airport Industrial Business Park. There is also commercial acreage at the entry to the City (Highway 11/17 south). Close proximity to major transportation routes and access to advanced telecommunication networks make North Bay’s industrial properties an excellent expansion or relocation option In North Bay’s Gateway Industrial Park. These fully serviced parcels range from .97 acres to 26.60 acres in size and are available for qualified projects. Four new mining supply and service companies have recently broke ground in their industrial park.

Timmins received a grant from FedNor of half a million dollars in 2012 to build a 85 acre Industrial Park west of the city to attract new industrial clients. Recent reports indicate that the new industrial park is in the design stage and water and sewer has been brought to property line and a final analysis and ultimate proposal will be forwarded to council for consideration before implementation occurs.

As we build our community for the future we need to remember who creates the most lucrative jobs and employment and that is small and medium size businesses in all sectors. We need to have some leadership on this issue from our political leaders who should be focussed on attracting private sector businesses wanting to grow Greater Sudbury. It’s not just about cutting costs, it’s all about building long term capacity and opportunities for the next generation by utilizing our municipal dollars in long term investments.